Jesuits to produce ‘ambitious’ St. Ignatius film

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QUEZON City, August 7, 2014—With available media material on their founding father scant at best, the Jesuit Communications (JesCom) is coming up with its most “ambitious” project to date: a film on the life of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

Seeing a renewed interest in the life of the saint and in his enduring legacy to the Church and the world—thanks to the first Jesuit Pope, Pope Francis—JesCom intends to reintroduce St. Ignatius to today’s moviegoers, especially the youth, who may draw inspiration from the touching story of how even the blackest of sinners can, through repentance, move the world “for the greater glory of God”.

“Certainly, the world, especially our youth deserves to rediscover the life of this saint and be inspired by his example. Thus, our dream of putting his story on the big screen slowly took shape,” said Jescom head Fr. Emmanuel Alfonso, S.J.

The first Jesuit

Chris Lowney, author of the bestselling book “Heroic Leadership,” writes that if one talks about successful global corporations, it is impossible to miss out on the Society of Jesus (S.J.) which has existed for centuries, serving the world through its network of schools, parishes and social centers.

The secret of that enduring “Company”, he points out, is the spirit of its founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola.

In 2011, JesCom put together a team of writers and consultants to craft the first set of sequence treatments for the movie, taking them a few years and many attempts to produce a solid treatment.

Three years later, they are ready to go on to the next stage of the project to be called “Ignacio: The First Jesuit”.

“Ignacio” is a full-length feature film about St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus.  It is an incisive and thrilling look at his life as told by a young priest who was once assigned to defend him before the Spanish Inquisition.

In the movie, the audience will meet the real man behind the legend, following his transformation from a brash, impulsive youth obsessed with women and sword-fighting; to the masterful, charismatic leader of an order that would change the face of Christendom.

In his lifelong quest to become the heroic knight of his fantasies, Ignacio stares death in the face again and again, finding himself imprisoned for murder; having his leg shattered by a cannonball in battle; driven to near suicide by his inner demons; and finally finding his life in the hands of the Inquisition. Through it all, he would come to see the hand of God working in his life, shaping the self-obsessed sinner into the loyal and passionate soldier-saint.

Biggest project

The film also shows how Ignacio wove the trials, errors, and lessons of his eventful life into the fabric of his masterpiece, the “Spiritual Exercises”.

Combining clarity of thought with Ignacio’s own love of fantasy and imagination, the Exercises form a rigorous method of making life decisions, and have guided and influenced countless seekers throughout history.

In order to stay true to the story of Ignacio, JesCom plans to shoot entirely in Spain, with some scenes filmed in the actual places where certain events in Ignacio’s life took place, namely: Montserrat in Barcelona, Manresa, Pamplona, and Loyola, the birthplace of St. Ignatius.

Having previously done numerous high-quality media projects recognized by various award-giving bodies, the group is confident that it can competently execute this project.
But in order to produce a top quality film, JesCom needs $675,000. This provides especially for the three weeks that it will be shooting the film in Europe, bringing in 15 production crew members from the Philippines and hiring an international cast.

Pre-Production (location hunting, script development, permits, air fare, etc.) will cost $55,000; the cast’s expenses will run up to $200,000; production (costume, props, set design, location fees, logistical fees, onsite rentals, talent fees, etc.) will require
$335,000; and post-production (editing, color correction, original musical scoring, etc.) will cost $85,000. The entire project will cost around $675,000 in total.

While JesCom relies on some donors to help it with the film’s production, the full production cost amounting to US$675,000 is too big for its small foundation to shoulder.

And so it is turning to the generosity of worldwide supporters to help defray the cost.
For this campaign, it will be raising the amount of P6,100,000.00, or about $140,000.00.

This is 20% of the total production cost and will partly cover the cost of production and the full cost of post-production.

JesCom appeals to the generosity of those who have been touched, moved, or inspired by Ignatian spirituality, to support the campaign by visiting the link IndieGoGo: https://www. indiegogo.com/projects/ ignacio-a-film-about-the- first-jesuit

For trailers, interested parties may visit  http://vimeo.com/ 102143386 for the movie trailer and https://www.youtube.com/ watch?feature=player_embedded& v=1cS8VxtUHAc for the movie AVP. (Raymond A. Sebastián)

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